James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets drives towards Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers throughout the third quarter at Wells Fargo Middle on February 06, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Tim Nwachukwu | Getty Photographs
The NBA’s largest commerce domino fell simply earlier than the league’s deadline Thursday.
The Brooklyn Nets will commerce guard James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers for a package deal centered round guard Ben Simmons, The Athletic and ESPN reported. Each retailers reported that the 76ers may even obtain ahead Paul Millsap, whereas the Nets will get guard Seth Curry, heart Andre Drummond and two first-round draft picks.
The commerce will resolve simmering tensions for each groups, which entered the season with championship hopes. The previous league MVP Harden has reportedly grown annoyed in Brooklyn because the loaded Nets, beset by an harm to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s restricted availability attributable to his refusal to obtain a Covid-19 vaccine, discover themselves close to the center of the league’s Japanese Convention.
Simmons, in the meantime, has refused to play for the 76ers this season after the one-time All-NBA participant shouldered a lot of the blame for his staff’s collapse in final season’s playoffs. The 76ers and heart Joel Embiid, one of many main candidates for this season’s MVP award, have remained among the many prime groups within the East with out Simmons.
The commerce ends a short-lived experiment in Brooklyn, which traded away a lot of its future final yr to have Harden be a part of fellow superstars Durant and Irving. The trio performed solely 16 video games collectively.
The Nets, enjoying with out Harden and Irving for a lot of the collection, misplaced to the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks in final season’s playoffs.
Philadelphia appeared to enhance its roster round Embiid to maximise his stellar play this season. Harden, 32, might be reunited with Philadelphia’s president of basketball operations Daryl Morey.
As a Houston Rockets govt, Morey traded for Harden, who helped to make the staff one of many prime franchises within the league throughout the 2010s.
The 25-year-old Simmons, the primary general choose within the 2016 NBA Draft, helped Embiid to guide the 76ers to perennial playoff competition. Their success adopted “The Course of,” years of deliberate dropping within the mid-2010s to build up prime draft picks and different belongings.
Simmons, lengthy maligned for his reticence to shoot, drew backlash from followers for his efficiency in his staff’s Recreation 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in final season’s playoffs. At a essential second within the recreation, the 6-foot-11-inch Simmons handed up a dunk when 6-foot-1-inch Atlanta guard Trae Younger was the closest defender.
Atlanta’s upset win over Philadelphia, and Simmons’ choice to not shoot, contributed to the guard’s deadlock together with his staff this yr.